Football runs past Santa Fe High

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By Phil Scherer

The Los Alamos High School varsity football team is off to its best start in a decade. After defeating Santa Fe High School 21-14 in the Hilltoppers’ homecoming game, the team’s record now stands at 4-2 heading into district play.

Nothing about the most recent victory came easy, however, as it came down to the last possession and the final minutes.

The first quarter was a defensive battle, as the teams traded turnovers on downs and struggled to move the ball past midfield. As the quarter drew to a close, Santa Fe appeared to have their best scoring opportunity of the game up to that point, with first and goal inside the 5-yard line. The Hilltopper defense was able to tighten and force a field goal attempt, which they blocked, keeping the game scoreless.

Hilltopper running back Cade Yost changed that on the first play of the ensung drive, as he took a handoff to the left and ran 82 yards for a touchdown, outrunning the entire Santa Fe defense. After a successful extra point attempt, LAHS led 7-0.

Santa Fe answered right back on their next drive, picking up big gains down the field and capping off the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run by quarterback Zach Russell, tying the game at 7-7.

The game would remain 7-7 at halftime, as Santa Fe failed to take advantage of a Hilltopper turnover deep in their own territory right before the end of the half. They had two touchdowns taken off the board due to penalties, and the half ended with Wyatt Saeger of LAHS intercepting a pass in the end zone. As the clock ran out for the opening half, all of Sullivan Field seemed to breathe a huge sigh of relief.

LAHS took the lead back early in the second half, as Cade Yost ran the ball 35 yards on their first possession of the half down to the 1-yard line, and ran the ball in for the touchdown two plays later, giving the Hilltoppers a 21-14 lead.

Once again, Santa Fe answered right back, going on a methodical drive down the field, capped off by a 3-yard touchdown run by Marcos Acuna, tying the score 14-14.

The biggest play of the game for the Hilltoppers came on their next drive, and backup quarterback Kayden Rivera delivered it. Rivera had to come into the game for Dylan Irish, who was shaken up on a hard hit earlier in the series.

On third down, Rivera connected with Saeger on a 71-yard pass, getting the ball all the way down to the 11-yard line. Two plays later, Yost scored his second touchdown of the game on a 5-yard run play, putting the Hilltoppers back on top 21-14.

Though Santa Fe had multiple opportunities to come back late in the game, they were unable to do so.

On their final possession, they were set up near midfield. On fourth down, Jack Stewart came up with a big sack, sealing the game for the Hilltoppers.

The team will now prepare to face off against Del Norte High School at home on Friday at 7 p.m. to open up district play.

Del Norte enters the game with a record of 1-5, having been outscored 198-59 so far.

Last season, Los Alamos fell on the road to Del Norte 52-14.